Memorials and resolutions enable the Churchwide organization, congregations, conferences, and synod organizational units to address broad policy issues or issues important to God’s mission in the world. Memorials address broad policy issues; resolutions have a narrower focus, requesting consideration or action by individual offices or units, or the Church Council. The churchwide organization and synods of the ELCA use a process to bring forth memorials and resolutions. Memorials and resolutions are one way this church addresses broad policy issues or important issues for God’s mission in the world, and help organize the work of the Synod Assembly by clarifying important issues or concerns.

Resolutions and memorials are first reviewed by the Reference and Counsel Committee, which makes recommendations to the Synod Assembly to facilitate its work; however, resolutions belong to the assembly and may be amended, rejected, or adopted after consideration by the voting members.

A Resolution is a proposal requesting action from the synod congregations, members, a particular Churchwide unit, Synod Board or to a specific concern. As a practical matter, resolutions have a more narrow focus than memorials because they request consideration or action by individual units, offices, or the Church Council. Thus, for example, a request for the Church Council to recommend a parliamentary rule or action by a unit would be the subject of a resolution, but a request to change an ELCA policy should be a memorial.

A Memorial is a proposal appealing for action from the Synod Assembly to the Churchwide Assembly only. A memorial should be reserved for broad policy issues that belong in the Churchwide Assembly. Once memorials are received by the Churchwide organization, they are referred to the Memorials Committee, which is appointed by the Church Council to review and make recommendations to the Churchwide Assembly, or accordance with ELCA bylaw 12.51.21. A flowchart showing the process of submitting a memorial to the Churchwide Assembly can be found here, and a guide to writing an effective memorial can be found here.

Resolutions and memorials passed by the Southwest California Synod Assemblies should inform the policies and actions of the Synod Office and congregations, and are listed below.